In early June, the Yankees drafted him as their second overall selection in the third round of this year’s First Year Player Draft. The 6-foot-3 right-hander was somewhat of an anomaly, being the only high school player taken by the Yankees before the 16th round.
In fact, he was one of just six high schoolers taken by the Bronx Bombers, along with Garret Cave, Chris Hudgins, Will Gaddis, Cameron Warren and Madison Stokes. Among that company of players, only DeCarr decided to bypass college and test the waters of professional baseball.
So far, it looks like that decision has paid off.
In just seventeen innings of work, DeCarr has fanned 21 batters and opposing hitters are hitting a meager .219 against him.
“I’m adapting to the routine of pro baseball, trying to stay focused," DeCarr said. "Right now I’m just trying to take it a day at a time, but so far so good."
The biggest upside to DeCarr right now is his maturity, both as a player and a person. Many scouts have described his game as “advanced,” due to his consistency as a pitcher and ability to throw three above-average pitches with proficiency.
Thus far, DeCarr throws a 93-95 [the latter speed utilized less often] mph fastball, a classic 12-6 curveball, and a developing changeup. When asked what DeCarr’s most “lethal” pitch was, pitching coach Cory Arbiso didn’t have to think twice.
“It’s the curveball,” Arbiso said definitively. “He spins it really well. He can throw it in there for a first pitch strike; he can also expand it whenever he needs to with two strikes.”
Aside from his natural talent as a pitcher, his coaches in the GCL have been most impressed with his mindset during his brief tenure with the team.
“He works his rear end off," manager Travis Chapman said. "His work ethic and his determination have been excellent. He’s a wonderful kid and we’re very happy to have him on our team.”
“He’s one of those rare high school pitchers that you get in the draft," he added. "He has an idea of what he wants to do and has really solid mechanics. He hits his spots with his fastball. You don’t see much of that with high school kids."
As with all young players, though, DeCarr has areas that need improvement if he’s to enjoy success in the higher levels. One particular focus of the coaching staff has been tweaking his changeup so it can become a go-to pitch.
Though DeCarr can certainly throw a decent changeup, it’s still not quite as strong as his curveball and fastball. If he can sharpen the location and movement on his changeup he’ll truly be a triple threat on the mound.
“We’re working on that third pitch with him," Arbiso said. "Right now his fastball and curveball are his main pitches.
"Adding that changeup would complete that pitch package. So far it’s been good but needs some work. Sometimes he cuts it like a fastball. He needs to get that extension and get out in front."
Another area that DeCarr would self-admittedly like to work on is taming his competitive nature. While it fuels his desire to succeed, he concedes that it sometimes gets the best of him. Above anything, he knows baseball is a mental game and is aiming to maintain an air of constructive criticism rather than self doubt.
“It’s a day to day process," DeCarr said. "Coming in I would get pretty upset if I didn’t put on a great performance every time out. You have to learn from it, think about it for a little bit after, and then move on.”
With time ticking down in the Gulf Coast League season, it will be difficult to glean immediate results. That being said, it will be interesting to see how DeCarr performs with a full season under his belt.
“I would like to see him to improve on his pitch location during the offseason,” Chapman said. “I fully expect him to be ready to go.”
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TAMPA, FL - The past three months have been a whirlwind for rookie pitcher Austin DeCarr. After finishing a postgraduate year at the Salisbury School in Connecticut, the Foxborough, MA native’s life began to rapidly change.
Austin DeCarr enters the professional ranks with advanced mechanics and a mature mentality.